The Institute for Diaconic Science and Management in Bielefeld, Germany invites PhD students to participate in the second international conference for PhD students in diaconic science, which will take place from 11-12 October 2019 at the Institute for the Study of Diaconia (Diakoniewissenschaftliches Institut/DWI) at Heidelberg University (programme below).


In different European countries universities offer PhD-programs with a focus on diaconic science. The objective of the conference is to connect students who are working and studying in these programs to get to know each other, to develop avenues of cooperation and to discuss methodological questions as well as approaches to the “philosophy “ of diaconic science. Thus, we would like to
invite you to send in a one page description of your PhD project which you would like to present at the conference (poster or paper presentation, forum of questions and discussion). Please mail the one page description of your project until May 31, 2019 to

Diaconic Science is a young science. It is coming from a theological background and developing an interdisciplinary approach to cover the wide range of topics that are raised by social work and social services by church based organizations or local churches. In many countries these organizations operate in a pluralistic society under the conditions of social markets. The shrinking of churches and the growth of these markets has led to the following question: what is the role theology in the study of diaconia? There will be an opening session focusing on this question. Other sessions are open to the variety of topics being under research in individual PhD projects.


Oct. 11/12, 2019 in Heidelberg, Germany
Participants: Students from PhD-Programs in Germany (Bielefeld, Heidelberg), Norway (Oslo),
Finland, ´Czech Republic (Prague), Switzerland (Bern), and via ReDi and Eurodiaconia

Oct. 11, 2019 (Friday)
13.30: Welcome, Introduction of Participants and Programme
14.00: What is the role of theology in the study of Diaconia? How can empirical studies be linked to the Science of Diaconia?
3-4 short Statements from professors in charge of the PhD-Programs and discussion
15.30: Break
16.00: Introducing our research to each other: Presentation of research projects (poster presentation and forum for questions and discussion):
19.00: Dinner and get together (Restaurant)

Oct. 12, 2019 (Saturday)
8.30: Devotions
9.00 Presentation and discussion: Diaconia as a fundamental ecclesiological category, Thomas Renkert, Heidelberg
10:00: Discussion: Should Diaconia be linked to the church or to a specific religion like Christianity?
Or is a more general spiritual outlook to be preferred?
10.30: break
11.00: Interactive session: networking and support for PhD projects
12.00 Agreements for further cooperation – Farewell
13.00 Lunch

Afterwards there will be the opportunity for a guided tour through Heidelberg’s beautiful old city and castle (Euro 20 per person – please indicate if you are interested, the tour only starts with 20 people participating).

The conference will be held in English. Travel costs (flight/railway tickets, hotels, restaurant) have to be cared for individually by each participant. We would be glad to assist you in finding inexpensive hotels.